The Detail today talks to Guardian journalist James Murray about Boris Johnson – former London Mayor and Foreign Minister, now occupying No. 10 Downing St. Can this controversial figure extract the UK from the EU? 

Is he a Trump twin, or is he following in the footsteps of his hero, Winston Churchill?

Guardian journalist James Murray says Boris Johnson wears the hat that works, depending on what he’s trying to achieve.

“When he was London Mayor he was a One Nation Tory and when he was leading the ‘leave’ campaign he was completely the opposite.

“Boris’s roguish persona is something that he crafted for himself when he was at school. He had Turkish heritage that he was teased for and this posh English bumbling kind of character was something that he created to try and protect himself from criticism. Over his entire career he’s been given a lot of leeway because of that personality. Mistakes he’s made; the dishonesty he’s been accused of. To some degree he’s been able to ride past that because of this is the sort of privileged persona and background that he had.”

Murray says if a different politician had made the same mistakes their career would be over.

Instead, Johnson’s now the UK’s Prime Minister.

And in spite of cheerleading the Brexit campaign, it’s still not clear where Britain’s future lies under his leadership.

Murray says one of the problems he might have is the incredibly low reputation he has in the EU thanks to his exaggerations and lies on the ‘leave’ campaign.

Stuck – Johnson’s 2012 pre-London Olympics stunt went awry. Photo: Getty Images

“That might scupper him.

“One issue he’s going to have is that he’s going to have to go to Europe and try to charm people and persuade people to at least give him some sort of concession that he can sell to Parliament. A major concession is extremely unlikely, but he might get some sort of ‘lipstick on a pig’ type deal he might be able to swing some Brexit-supporting Labour MPs towards, and some people in his own party, just to avoid a no-deal situation.”

There are several scenarios that might play out now.

“Brussels could offer some sort of minor concession, he could possibly scrape it through Parliament with the help of Labour MPs and maybe he tries for a general election in the spring. That seems a highly unlikely scenario.

“It might be that the more moderate members of his own party join with the opposition to call a vote of no confidence and we get a no deal Brexit occurring.

“I think the suggestion that he might suspend Parliament probably won’t happen because it would face such opposition from MPs.”

Things could change if the Tories lose a by-election in August in Brecon, which would reduce the Conservative Party’s majority to two.

Another option is that he does leave the EU on October 31 and there will be some sort of rough extension on trading terms.

“The problem is he’s been brought into power on the back of lots of very hard core Brexit supporters and that might not be enough for them.”

The Detail today looks at Johnson’s past, his personality – and the kiwi cheerleader who describes him as ‘visionary’.

Want more from The Detail? Find past episodes here.

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